Things to do:
Waiheke Island ($36 dollar return)
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (free)
The Domain gardens and museum (gardens were free)
Mount Eden (free)
Places to eat:
Chawlas (Indian restaurant)
Bedford soda and liquor (make your own meatball restaurant)
Mad mex (Mexican fast food)
Ponsonby is also a great area for eating and drinking!
Places to stay:
The attic hostel (quiet, with a large kitchen but little atmosphere)
Nomads hostel (basic amenities but good atmosphere with onsite bar)
Haka lodge (cosy atmosphere with free wifi)
YHA International (quiet atmosphere)
My adventure in Auckland:
Okay, now if you’ve read my top tip recommendations and want more a detailed review of what I did on my stay in Auckland read on…
Touch down in Auckland – the land of the kiwi! I confidently strode out of the airport with more bags than I could carry, straight over to the sky bus express ticket desk brought a one-way journey to the city…45 minutes later and $18 dollars lighter I was in the centre of Queens street (Main Street in Auckland).
For the three nights I stayed at the attic hostel, off wellesley street west. Arriving outside to a sign that said reception 5th floor, my heart sank as my legs were shaky and my back was sweaty under the weight of my two backpacks! Luckily I saw the lift and almost cried with happiness. The hostel was nice, clean and the staff were all really friendly. They had a lovely kitchen and terraced eating area for those who liked to cook their own food. Although I should point out there isn’t anything in the way of group activities organised by this hostel (however, it was the beginning of January so they were probably still nursing a hangover from new year), so if you are a solo traveller then this may be a slight downside.
The first night I was exhausted with jet lag, so I dumped my things showered (FYI the shower room is very slippery…which I found out rather quickly after gracefully picking myself of the bathroom floor), and went straight to the local Mexican place called Mad Mex (which was delicious!) before settling down for an early night.
First morning I eagerly looked out of the window to see rain, windy and cloud…great! After desperately googling ‘things to do in Auckland when raining’ I found that Waiheke Island was only a 40 minute ferry ride away with beaches and plenty of quaint cafes. Waterproofs on I marched down to docks and brought a return ticket for $36 dollars. The ferries run every half an hour, with a bar onboard for last minute bottles of water. (Tip: remember to pack anti-sickness tablets if you don’t have sea legs!)
The ferry docks onto the island where there’s an information desk, toilets and a bus stop. After discussing which would be the best route to take, I was informed that the ‘five beach walk’ would be a nice easy walk across the main beaches, approximately 2-3 hours (just follow the red arrows). Well all I can say is she lied. Now before I go on, you must understand I am relatively fit and healthy, but this was a serious hike (especially in the heat!) – the beaches were beautiful, but the hikes in between varied from lovely strolls through the hills to uphill climbs through dense forest (not a hike I would recommend doing in your own). Although it was certainly worth the aching legs, the views where spectacular, as where the beaches. You end up at palm beach, where buses are every half an hour, so for 3 dollars you can buy a ticket on the bus and head back to the ferry.
After another nauseous journey back, I headed back the hostel, where I enjoyed a Indian for dinner just down the road from my hostel called Chawlas – which although a little expensive I can highly recommend if you are in Auckland and have a craving for curry!
Next morning it was still miserable weather so once again after googling around I decided on the art gallery, a walk around Albert park and The Domian. The art gallery was interesting, the Maori pieces were a particular highlight, certainly not a bad way to spend a rainy morning!
Then off the Domain (after admitting getting a little bit lost) a journey that should of taken half an hour, had taken nearly two – but nonetheless I got there and the park itself was beautiful – so many avenues and gardens to go and see I would highly recommend taking a picnic and spending the afternoon there. I can’t comment on the museum as I only stood outside and took the obligatory ‘look where I was mum’ photo, but let me know if you’ve been and whether it’s worth the entrance fee!
After all that walking, I stop off at the Barista Cats cafe where (for a $15 entrance fee) you can relax in the cafe with a free hot drink, stroking all the rescue cats, although it’s not necessarily a must-do, it is still a nice way to spend an hour – plus help an animal charity at the same time!
Stay tuned for more New Zealand blogs…